Companion Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

very good
196 Ratings
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Companion AleCompanion Ale

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Wheatwine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by John_M on 09-24-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 196
Photo of scootny
4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me start out saying that wheatwine has almost always been a bit of a letdown for me in the past, with the exception if White Oak, ( a Belgian take on the style). Hefe is my favorite style and I love Belgian Wits. Generally any style that includes wheat I tend to gravitate towards except this one. So I go to the opening of On Tap at Whole Foods Columbus Circle to get my book signed by Garret and check out the place. The Companion was the star of my two flights and I wound up buying 128 oz to in three growlers to take home . While I have notes from which I will post my review of this stuff on tap I will go in depth with the growler I scored and get cozy with what is a really fine beer. This is my personal favorite in this style to date.

Appearance is a clear golden amber with a very large slightly off white head, very good retention and nice amount of lacing. Beer stays covered for the entire glass. Smell is full of floor malt and big chunks of yeasty bread. A light undercurrent of sweet alcohol and pepper. Lovely fruitiness has banana notes and white grapes. Taste is big and bready with the malt being the star of this beer. Floor malted wheat gives a level of depth that I have never experienced in this style. There is a bread flavor that recalls toasted light whole wheat with butter and strawberry jam. I mean the flavors are so British tea time. Biscuits and butter. Jam and toast. The sweetness of the malt and alcohol are beautifully balanced and all I want to do is indulge myself in the flavors swirling around my tongue. Yeasty fruit esters and bakery. Peppery edge hides the alcohol so well you have to let the beer warm to find it. Event then it is stealthy. Hops are earthy and dry with a clean quenching signature. Finish leaves dryness and bready malt along with toasted biscuits. Feel is so light and crisp the only tip off to the strength is when you are legless. The carbonation fine and smoothly crisp with a drinkability so far beyond what I have experienced before that it goes down more like a good lager that a strong ale. You start out treating it like a session beer. This is just a great overall beer with a kick like a velvet hammer. Deliciously full flavored with complexity and nuance, it is more than I expected from the style and just what I expect from Garret Oliver. I am pleased to be rating this one highly. It is the best of the style I have had and is a benchmark for me.

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Photo of CopeTech
4.83/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful Triple. Lovely flavors and mouth feel. Rich, reminded me of Cuvee de Kaiser Blau.
On Tap at Fireworks Arlington Virginia.
Small Glass due to 10% but nice sipping beer.
Its going on tap at Flying Saucer Austin tomorrow and I suggest a pilgrimage.

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Photo of fmccormi
4.7/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Blue Tusk in Syracuse, NY, poured to a 12oz mug at the bar.

Appearance (4.0): ALMOST clear body, a light orange-amber with essentially no head or lacing to speak of. Head and lacing seem pretty typical for the style, but it’s on the light and clear side for a wheatwine.

Smell (4.0): Light candy-sweetness, with earthy fruit notes—apricot, with hay. Beautiful, bucolic, lightly sweet. Wildflower honey, but drier.

Taste (5.0): Amazing. It’s smooth, with a light, brassy tartness from the wheat malt, with spicy hops that bring in a long, blonde-sweet finish, like light brown sugar was used in finishing . . . not heavy or cumbersome like other –wines. Some booze, but it’s a nice touch. Yeast and malt combo is very, very German in nature. Absolutely beautiful.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Creamy, syrupy and on the heavier side of medium, with an active, velvety carbonation! Again, beautiful beer and amazing mouthfeel for the style.

Overall (5.0): Phenomenal. Drinkable as hell. Just a beautiful, smooth, relatively light and bright, joy-to-consume wheatwine. All other wheatwines should keep this one in mind as a benchmark of sorts . . . if all wheatwines were this enjoyable, they’d be as popular as barleywines. Absolutely wonderful, this was the highlight of the night.

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Photo of angelogarcia3
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sapsuckers of Huntington has this beer and as most people know I'm partial to Stouts/Porters. However, this beer is excellent and will definitely have a few glasses of this beer. In flavor it reminds me of a Belgian quadrupel. A nice clear amber colored beer with a white head. Sugary notes on the nose with hints of caramel, and maple. It is a slightly syrrupy beer in the mouth with a sweetness that is well-balanced and a slight effervensce that helps clear out the syrrupiness. An excellant beer, highly recommend it!

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Photo of madmanjf
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I won't do a formal review this time around, as I wasn't thinking in terms of this when I was drinking the beer.

I do want to say that this is one of the best Reserves that Brooklyn has put out in recent memory IMO.

Wheatwines aren't very common, and this one is definitely work checking out.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wheatwine made with floor malted wheat.

A: Deep golden amber color. When I first had this beer it was more clear. As it has some time on it it is getting a little bit darker but that is fairly normal from my experiences with the style. A thin covering of white head with just a touch of lacing.

S: This is one area in which the style finds a hard time gaining fans. Faint floral notes. Almost like lingering perfume. The smell of wheat is there but not like in most wheat styles. There is no alcohol at all in the nose. Just a pleasant sweetness.

T: They really let that floor malted wheat shine and shine it does. Very clean example of the style. No hint of the ABV at all. Very clean. Well attenuated.

M: As dry as a beer this big can be for the style. Carbonation is soft. Not as thick as some examples of the style which helps drinkability.

O: A damn fine example of the style. Reminds me of Smuttynose Wheatwine with around a year on it. The ABV is masked masterfully.I enjoyed a few of these the last few months and wish it would be around more.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Pony Bar, NYC. Poured into 8oz nonic type glass...
Crisp looking yellowish color. Smells sweet, fruity, honey.
Taste of strong belgian style yeast, fruity, honeyish notes...alcohol is present but compliments nice with the strong flavor.
Excellent drinkability, and well worth a try.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

what a great beer this is. pours a straw color with a dense 1 inch head into a brooklyn schooner. smells sweet and fruity, with wheat and crystal malts. taste is so interesting, notes of vanilla and sugary fruit are obvious, but there are other subtleties as well. i cant place it, but there is also some herb or spice in this brew, which gives it a very interesting flavor profile. the alcohol is well masked in the taste, but it must claim many victims. this beer is so smooth and easy drinking you'd never imagine it being 10%. a fantastic winter beverage!

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Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at the brewhouse grille in camp hill. Served chilled in a snifter.

The color is a tanished golden shade with a light chill haze and quick dropping white cap with tiny bead and light lace with visible carbonation. The smell is nice with malt aroma and slight tropical fruit ester with a light alcohol presence and slight wheat toasted aroma. The nose has a mild candy/bubblegum scent. The feel is semi-dry with a bit of booziness and moderately highly carbonated with a mild fruit tanginess an subtle sweetness for the style in the finish. The alcohol influence is very mild for the abv which I like.

This wheatwine has flavors of gentle ripe banana with a slight floral tinge and mild toasted grain with hints of spice and dried fruit. There is a hint of tea(white) and mild woodiness which add to the sweetness and bring out a slight fruit and earthy blend of flavors which are light yet noticeable. The flavor of alcohol is there letting you know this is a high gravity beer, but it is light enough to be pleasant with slight tinges of graham cracker in the finish. The beer is semi-dry in taste as it finishes Overall this is a pretty high quality wheatwine and it gives a nice perspective on the style from Brooklyn. I enjoy the quaffability (?) for a wheatwine it is -possibly depends on you definition but a very low alcohol presence in the taste makes this a recommended example of the style for me.

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Photo of ElCommodoro
4.29/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can't say anything about the appearance of this because it was served in the dark at Alamo Drafthouse. It was described to me as a sweet, strong, and malty ale. It wasn't malty, which makes sense now that I know it was a wheat wine. It was surprisingly sweet, though, and certainly strong. The alcohol was very well hidden, though. The taste was fruity and orangey, and quite yeasty, but not overly so. It was just right. Right on the edge of almost being too yeasty. I don't normally like wheat beers, so I'm glad I wasn't told what this was before I ordered it. Very good stuff.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Shango

This beer pours a clear, dark amber with a fluffy head that fades fast. In the right light you might think that you were actually drinking an effervescent rose (ros-ay) given its light body, and potent alcohol. However, when it comes down to the beer's warm, sugary aroma and herbal, honey taste there's no mistaking this for any wine...although maybe a mead.
This is not like any wheatwine I've had either. Its got an intense honey-like taste and mouthfeel. The alcohol provides the necessary bite. I'm really impressed with this beer, it may be one of my favorites by brooklyn thus far.

Round #2 on tap, banana split and chocolate sauce. Almost a totally different flavor.

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Photo of Kelly88
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first wheatwine ever and I'm pleasantly surprised.
Had on tap at keystone in Covington, served in one if my favorite glasses, a Kentucky bourbon barrel ale snifter.

A- Pours like Cortez liked it, golden. Stays the same in the glass with a nice light fluffy 2 inch head of eggshell white. Head recedes mildly to a foamy wispy ring with some skim on top that is leaving tree trunks of lace on the side. Beautiful beer.

S- sweet fruit of apples and some acidity like pears or kiwi are all mingling to create an intoxicating smell. There is some alcohol esters in there that remind you that you are dealing with 10% beer.

T- almost exactly mirrors the nose. Wheat is there but only for a second. Such a smooth taste. Almost reminds me of buffalo trace bourbon without the harsh heat of bourbon if that makes any sense.

M- maybe the best part of the beer. So silky smooth. Feels uncarbonated at first then at the very end you get some sparkling effect. Buttery smooth and you could just down these before you pass out due to the high abv.

Overall a great wheatwine that I have no others to compare to since this is my first. Lots of flavor with a silky feel and great to look at in the glass = a nice drinking experience.

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Photo of OutFox
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Barcade in Jersey City NJ.

A - It was pretty f'ing dark in the bar but the beer appeared a sort of gloden bronze. Reddish hues on the outer ends but that could have been the lighting. Mine didnt have much head but the little that was there stayed for a while.

S - Complex. Smells of apples, oak, some honey maybe? I dunno theres a lot going on here. Some spice in the nose as well with a certain wine quality to it.

T - Basically the same as the nose but with a more lightly malty characteristic. Really f'ing good. I think this beer came out with the book that Garrett just released which is the called The Oxford Companion to Beer. Well if the book is as complex and good as the wheat wine then Ill be in a book shop after I get paid later this week.

M - Light and wine like. It has some carbonation but its not the prevailing mouthfeel characteristic.

O - Great wheat wine. I cant say Ive had too many of the style but I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a snifter.

A: Pours a crisp, clear, golden/light amber with a sticky off-white head that fades.

S: Smells of freshly sliced orange peels and sharp wheat malts. There are some of the fruity flavours of a heffe and wit, with that caramel sweetness of a barleywine...weird.

T: Tropical fruits and sweet, boozy alcohol. but just the flavour, not the heat. There is a little spice somewhere in there and the hops a citric and present.

D: Alcohol is remarkable well hidden for 10% and the mouthfeel is clingy, sticky, and smooth.

Overall: I like my wheatwines to be a litte more on the wheat side than the "barleywine" side and this did not dissapoint. Very tasty beer and full of flavour. Get it if you see it!

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Photo of unclejazz
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this from a 22oz. growler, half poured into tulip-shaped glass.

A-amber with good continuous carbonation. There was a one-finger cream-colored head that quickly left no lacing.

S-ripe bananas and a short note of alcohol that faded nicely. There was a sweetness that reminded me of a Belgian dubbel.

T-more ripe banana along with caramel. The alcohol note is more in the background and does not linger. The overall flavor is smooth and warming. A god sustainable that will get you thru the winter.

M-the sustained carbonation along with a feel not quite syrupy and not quite watery is one of the best parts of this beer. Each sips beckons the drinker to have just one more.

O-The warmer this beer got, the better the experience got. This was my first time purchasing beer in growler form. It is something I plan on doing again, a lot. This beer has got me excited for BAMBoozled and the 2011 Black Ops offering. The prior is actually cooling in my fridge now.

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4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft serving into a snifter. $5.25 for a 9oz pour. Sampled today, 1/21/12.

A: Drop dead gorgeous. A solid finger of thick, compacted bright white foam sits atop a clear golden yellow-orange body. The head doesn't move for quite a while, then settles in to a nice collar and film. Only deduction is from the lack of lace.

S: Again, fantastic. Bready, biscuity malts with mild honey-like sweetness and an underlying apricot inclusion, faint but noticeable - and very important to the success of the nose. The dominant aroma is a mix between toffee and caramel plus light vanillin.

T: A little more straight forward than the nose suggested, but nonetheless impressive. Juicy malt backbone. Room temperature tea, toffee and a short lived graham cracker flavor on the back, just before drying out. The fruit flavor is either minimal or didn't make it's way to the palate.

M: Wheatwines generally finish on the drier side, and The Companion is no exception. Very light on the tongue and crisp on the finish. I was hoping for a juicier mouthfeel to match the aroma and flavor.

O: Best wheatwine I've sampled to date - next to, of course, Founders Nemesis '09 - but that is an entirely different animal. For a straight wheatwine, I don't think it gets any better than this.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at The City Beer Hall's Brooklyn event last night.

A-Clear orange, two finger head with some lacing.

S-Spice heavy with some lemon and wheat notes.

T-Lemon, spices, wheat, slight bitterness.

M-Light and carbonated, very smooth.

O-The spices resembled that of a saison but with more lemon flavor and bitterness. An good beer that I was glad I was able to try once.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 10/04/11 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey in Washington, DC. Served in a large tulip.

a - Pours a clear reddish amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of vanilla, oranges, wood, light fruit, and very light alcohol. A little sweet and pretty nice.

t - Tastes of vanilla, fruit, wheat, oak, bready malts, and oranges again. Again, some nice sweet fruit and vanilla.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Super smooth and creamy body. A little more carbonation and the mouthfeel could have been amazing, as it's pretty easy to drink for 10% ABV.

o - Overall another really good, interesting beer from Brooklyn. Some sweet vanilla-like qualities in the nsoe and taste which make this super smooth to drink. Something I would certainly order again.

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Photo of Tschnab
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a rubyish orange color with a bone white head that fades pretty much right away. no lace.

S- tons of plum and pear, alot of carmel too, which pairs very nicely with the fruit. A lot of cereal grain, and belgian candied sugar.

T- the taste is quite complex, with lots of apple and pear, honey and carmel, almost like a carmel apple. The finish is slightly smokey and slightly belgiany. It tastes very good, it is not the most delicious beer, but it is a rather complex and interesting one.

O- My first wheatwine, I really enjoyed this. Not sure if it's to style, but this is a mutlifaceted brew that is definetly wheatier than any barley wine i've had.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 1/10/2012 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a large dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains citrus, honey, wheat, caramelized malts and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of honey, citrus and caramel. Then a hearty malt and wheat breadiness comes in. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a nice stronger beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One finger offwhite head, very fine. Clearish amber body with ephemeral lace.

Nose is honey, pear, very sweet and pretty delicious.

Sweet. Almost syrupy. Plenty of honeyed pear, some wheat and a trace of oak, faint toffee? Tasty but not overstated. Skewed towards sweet; not as pungent as I expected.

Kinda mouth-coating, lingering fruit syrup. Otherwise thick, but not too carbonated.

It's neat, but the smell is the real winner here. You wouldn't guess 10% to taste it. Drinks incredibly well. Later, I returned to the same place and tasted again-- the line was cleaner and more of the fruit came through. Darn fine beer.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Golden brown pour with about a finger of white head. Retention is ok, the lacing is nice 4

MF: Light malts, caramel and nutty, with slight booze. The smell is very sweet 4

T: The taste is light with a nice caramel maltiness. In surprised that
the booze isn't prominent. A bit of a dry hop finish. The taste is
balanced very well 4.5

MF: Low carb medium body but creamy. Booze is noted with the warming alcohol feeling on the backend 3.5

O: This was ok, nothing special. I expected something better 3.5

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Photo of jamescain
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Brooklyn tulip glass.

It pours a very clear light orange with a thin white head that fades into a thin lacing. The aroma is reminiscent of an impending malt bomb with toffee, caramel, bready notes. The body is medium light and surprisingly easy to drink with no apparent alcohol, even at 10%. The finish is sweet and lingering. The beer taste like I suspected, its a malt bomb, but what else would you expect from a wheatwine. The taste is very similar to the aroma, caramel and toffee dominate. The nice thing about this beer is that it leaves the impression of a barleywine, but without the chewy body and booziness. I would recommend seeking this one out if you have the chance.

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Photo of albertjr21
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a Bklyn Tulip glass on 10-17-11, this pours a dirty golden color. Aroma fills the nose with a sweet, crisp, and mildly tart fruit sided blend of herbal green apple and honey. That's a very smooth 10% abv with a feel that just quietly glides over the palate into a crisp and somewhat mild finish. I can't help but think of the grassy lemon citrus notes of some white wines when it comes to the taste here and how there is clearly a solid malt content present to keep this in the "Beer World"...I also have to mention that this pairs quite well with my Fall spiced roasted chicken. Congrats on another great addition to our library, Garrett, and to this tasty brew...

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours surprisingly clear. Full light penetration. The light intensifies the absolutely magnificent color of the beer. This one blatantly glows. Fluffed head retains quite well. Head is a sudsy consistency. Looks amazing.

S-Light nose. I can tell there is a lot going on in the glass, but I was expecting much more intensity. Sweet and complex, but the aroma is soft and subtle. Alcohol is pretty much a non factor in the nose.

T-The flavor outshines the nose. The flavor is rich and deep. The all-malt bill is one of a kind. Almost tastes like a honey aged in some sort of barrel. Bath soaps. Complex caramel waves. Light citrus. Everything tastes dipped in honey and elderberry liqueur.

M-Very rich. Mellow carbonation. Sticky and but still light. Easy going down, but I can feel the warmth growing in my gut. ABV is more noticeable here that in the nose.

O/D-Very unique. Well worth a try. Never had anything quite like it. Welcome to the Wheatwine style. Kind of an eye opener.

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Companion Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
3.84 out of 5 based on 196 ratings.
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